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The Pope makes a stand on abortion

The New York Times reports today on Pope Benedict's arrival in Brazil. He wasted no time in calling for politicians who support a woman's right to choose to be excommunicated (if they're catholic).

While Mexico City recently legalized abortion, Brazil continues to struggle with the weight of the issue. Abortion is not legal, but estimates suggest that between 1 and 2 million women get "back alley" abortions there every year. The article includes quotes from a number of different politicians and church leaders on the issue. The difference between the two, in tone and substance, is striking. From Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva:

No one is in favor of abortion. But the question is: should a woman be imprisoned? Should she die? It's necessary to look at the woman as a human being ... the state cannot abdicate from caring for this as a public health question, because to do so would lead to the death of many young women in this country.

Sober, rational statements on a difficult, controversial issue. Contrast that with this statement from Brazilian Cardinal Majella - on sex education and condom distribution, not abortion, but you'll get the point:

This is inducing everyone into promiscuity ... This is not respect for life or for real love. It's like turning man into an animal.

Nice. Not exactly sober and rational. More shrill and hysterical. The whole article is worth a read.

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